Welcome to the Fearless Innovator Podcast, my name is Mechiel Kopaska and I am your host.
This week this story should really help you to understand why I call myself the Fearless Innovator. And women if you’re listening…. this is a story of what NOT TO DO and for the record I’m NOT for hire!
Full Disclosure! Whatever you do, do NOT try this at home! This story was good for the time in which it happened but not today considering there are over 400,000 registered gun owners in Florida, and that doesn’t account for the non-registered owners.
To protect the innocent here, I’m not going to use real names except for my own and clearly, when I look back on this story, I can’t believe I did this, but it is, what it is. I was not the mastermind behind this plan, but I did put the plan together to make it work. Now you already know I am from Iowa, my dad was fearless, I’m fearless and I had several years of IT Project Management years behind me at the time of this event.
Soooo here we go!
A friend of mine, whom we will call Carol, was traveling home from work one day, her car had broken down and a knight in shining armor tow truck driver rescued her! He picked up the car and towed her and her car to the nearest repair shop. It was during this ride, these 2 struck up a conversation, exchanged phone numbers and before she knew it she was on her first date with him. Then a second and then a third and then a fourth. I had met him several times, he seemed very attentive, funny and charming and he treated her well. As far as I knew, things were going along smoothly and all was well……..Several months later, Carol didn’t seem to be herself and when I asked about life in general, I just got a basic – everything is alright. I shrugged it off and thought maybe her workload was really heavy at work.
Several days later Carol came to me and only this time she was crying…… Crying…. I’m thinking to myself, what on Earth could be so bad?
She proceeds to tell me that the boyfriend had cheated. I did my best to comfort her and told her not to worry about it, there were plenty of other men worthy of her attention. I dropped it at that.
Couple of days go by, she again comes to me crying – only this time there was more desperation and nervousness in her voice.
She proceeded to tell me that she had bought the boyfriend a brand-new Toyota Tundra and everything was great and he was making the payments until he started cheating and now he was missing in action.
BUT she says I know where he’s staying. And I said, And you want my help how?” She said, Well, I think we can steal the truck. I’m the owner, I have the registration and I got an extra set of keys made. Did I hear you say, we? Yes, she said.My eyes musta popped outta my head but not for the reason you all think!
You see Carol, is the opposite of me. I have a back bone, she has no back bone, she likes status quo, I like to make things happen. She’s quiet and reserved and quiet frankly I’m not. So, Oh I get it, she knows my strengths and just developed a plan to use my strengths to work her plan.. Oh I see!
I told Carol, I need to think about this for a while and I’ll let you know.
Now, Carol is a great friend of mine and of course I really wanted to help her get that truck back from that scumbag. But I needed more time to think about it and plan our strategy.
I’ve realized over the years that defense is my best weapon! I played guard in high school basketball and I was determined that that ball was mine so I like it when people make the first move – all their cards on the table and you can’t guess what my next move might be…Sorry, I digress….
The first thing I wanted to know was more about the Toyota Tundra. I called up my dad. Dad, I’m going to ask you some questions, but I don’t want you asking me why I’m asking you. He said, “hmm” I said, you’re just going to have to trust me.
Dad, when you put a key into mom’s Toyota Tundra which way do you have to turn the key? He said, to the left. I said, Ok.
Once you’re inside the truck where is the door lock? He said, it’s on the door.
Where is the gear shift, he said on the console. I said, “Ok, thank you!” and I hung up!
I went back to Carol and said, Didn’t you tell me you know where he lives? She said, yes, with his new girlfriend. I didn’t ask how she found out where he lived that would be another story. I said, do you know about what time he gets home from work? She said, yes around 6pm.
Ok, one night after work, let’s take my black truck, park in the shadows and wait til he gets home because I want to see how and where he parks. Off we went to stalk a guy in black Toyota Tundra. As luck, would have it and just like clock-work he showed up at his apartment and he backed into his spot and the walked across the parking lot and up a flight of stairs and inside the door he went.
All the way home we discussed how this might go down and after many sleepless nights I kept pondering what we should do.
A couple of days later, I approached Carol and said, “I think I’ve got it.”
But I said here’s the deal, I’m not the registered owner so if you think I’m going to steal your truck, your dead wrong YOU have to do it! I’ve already called the cops and they said they won’t help us because this is a personal repo! She was scared to death!! I said, girl you’re gonna have to buckle down and stay focused, here’s the plan!
We’re going to drive over there just like we did the other night. We’ll park in the shadows down the street and when he hits the apartment door, you’re gonna take a deep breath, open my truck door, shut the door quietly, run down along the sidewalk so he can’t see you, dart over to your truck, put the key into the door, turn the key to the left, open the door, jump in, hit the lock button on the door, put the key into the ignition, start it up, put it in gear and about that time, I’ll pass in front you of you and then you just follow me. Got it?
You should have seen the fear in this girl’s eyes. I said, listen, you got this, just follow me!
The next night, we went over as planned, we waited and waited and watched several cars come and go and THEN it was game time. He was pulling into the parking lot, backed in, got out, checked his doors, walked across the street and as soon as he hit the apartment door, Carol jumped into action. She took a deep breath, opened my truck door, shut the door quietly, RAN down along the sidewalk so he didn’t see her, she darted over to HER truck, put the key into the door, and turned the key to the left, and when she did the ALARM went off in the truck! I thought OMG, she’s gonna buckle on the plan, NOPE! She jumped into the truck, hit the lock button on the door, put the key into the ignition, and started it up, She put it into gear and about that time, I passed in front her, but as I’m passing in front of her, he’s running down the flight of stairs! Carol continues to follow me. I called her on her cell phone and she says, Mechiel he jumped into his girlfriends car and now he’s chasing us… I said keep coming, he can’t hurt you. She said but Mechiel, this truck is running like a piece of shit, I said I don’t care….keep moving!!!! We got to a main road and by this time Carol was dragging back a bit and he was nowhere in sight, but we knew he was back there. She said, Mechiel we have to pull over, I said that’s not a good idea! Well, we pulled into a Target, checked things over quickly and got back on the road. Carol called me and said, Mechiel he’s following us, I said keep moving!!!! I said we need to find a police station. At this point, I was struggling to come up with a police station, my adrenaline was running high and you know its not every day that I need to know where a police station is! All of sudden, Carol says, Mechiel there’s a substation just ahead down the road, take a left. It took me a while to realize what she was talking about and she was right, there was one. OMG, I thought, Carol just saved the day! I said, Ok, I’ll call them to let them know we’re coming in HOTTTTT! Just keep following me!!! She said, OK! I said, I’ll call ya back. I called the substation explained that we had just done a personal repo and we were getting chased and we wanted to swing in to prevent this guy from hurting us. They were less than willing to help us with anything but agreed to have an officer outside waiting for us.
We both pulled in like we were pitting in the Daytona 500! I immediately got out and went to check on Carol, she was a mess, well we were both a hot mess! She got out of that truck yelling and screaming that he had ruined this brand-new truck, this truck is a piece of shit and then she screams out and now he went and put a frickin security system on it. Right then she saw him pass by the substation in his girlfriend’s car. We were both relieved because now we knew he wouldn’t come into the substation. The officer just stood there with is arms crossed, laughing at us!
It was right about then I realized there was smoke coming from the back of the truck and it smelled like hot brakes. I jumped in the truck and realized she had been driving with the emergency brake on! I released the brake and went back and told her this truck isn’t a piece of shit, he had put on the emergency brake! So Carol you were driving with the brake on!
I told Carol, girl I’m really proud of you! When that alarm went off, I thought for sure you’d run back to my truck, but you didn’t YOU STUCK TO THE PLAN! You even pushed through with the emergency brake on and you came up with a split-second decision to go to the substation!
We left the substation that night and hid the truck in a safe spot until she could decide what to do with it.
Just goes to show not all plans are perfect, but putting in the effort to do the plan does yield a result. In this case, we got the desired result, it was just a bit clunky getting there!
For the record, this is the one and only time I’ve ever stolen a truck, so I don’t want any calls wanting me to devise a new plan. I won’t do it! Well, I might consider a small car, next time….
Thank you for listening, I hope you were inspired, entertained or you learned something new!
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